Arson suspects offered N.dollars 3 000 to steal docket

15 Jan 2014 19:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 15 JAN (NAMPA) - Two men charged with arson and obstruction of justice for setting an office on fire at the Keetmanshoop Magistrate’s Court were to be paid N.dollars 1 500 each after successfully executing the job.
The two accused are Joseph Kudumo Amutenya, 29; and the 32-year-old Chifundo Alick Phiri.
Namibian Police Force (NamPol) investigation officer, Detective Inspector Theodor Kotungondo revealed this in his testimony as a State witness here on Tuesday during the bail hearing of accused number four in the same case, Danki Jesaya Naukosho.
The 38-year-old Danki Naukosho, his brother Isak Ndeulita Naukosho, 40; Amutenya and Phiri are accused of setting alight the secretary’s office at the court building on 05 November last year in an attempt to destroy the police docket dealing with Isak Naukosho’s diamond theft case.
Fortunately, no valuable documents or police dockets were destroyed in the blaze.
However, a photocopy machine, fax machine and other items worth about N.dollars 70 000 were destroyed.
Kotungondo testified that Phiri confessed that the Naukosho brothers hired him and Amutenya to travel from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop to steal a case docket to avoid Isak being sentenced.
“After trying and failing with a trick they called ‘chingisa’ on Prosecutor Felistas Mbendura in her office on the afternoon of 05 November, Phiri and Amutenya left and returned that evening to burn the secretary’s office which the case docket was in,” Kotungondo told the court.
According to the detective, ‘chingisa’ is a trick whereby one person distracts another by talking or blocking his or her way to enable a second person to do something, for instance stealing.
In this case, one of the suspects apparently tried to distract the prosecutor, while another accomplice searched for the docket to steal it. However, this trick did not work.
Danki apparently transported Phiri and Amutenya to Keetmanshoop, and waited outside the court building that evening while the two set the office on fire.
Phiri suffered burns when he set the office on fire using a flammable liquid.
On Monday, the second State witness, Sylvia Swartz, an interpreter at the same court, said her ex-boyfriend Danki Naukosho earlier asked her to help get rid of a police docket, but she refused to do so.
Speculation is rife amongst court officials and the police here about who could have provided the suspects with information on the exact location of the docket.
Another concern is that the wall around the court building does not have electric fencing, while the alarm system in the offices is not connected to any security company.
Isak Naukosho was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment or a fine of N.dollars 100 000 in Keetmanshoop on 06 November 2013, a day after the office was set on fire.
He managed to settle his fine in November and was released from custody, before being rearrested for arson.
Danki Naukosho’s bail application will continue here on Friday, while the case of all four suspects is postponed to 21 February for further police investigations and preparation of legal representations.
Phiri, Amutenya and Isak remain in custody, while making arrangements for bail applications.
Magistrate Anderson Frederick heard the bail application, with Principal Legal Officer Pieter Smit representing the State.